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Mar 5, 2014 2:30pm PST
that has confidently mastered its difficult environment. the sea shaped dutch society. but 80 bitter years of a cruel and bloody war for independence from their spanish rulers created a dutch nation. in the middle of the 17th century, seven provinces of the netherlands won their struggle for independence and established the predominantly protestant dutch republic. [bells ringing] in a europe dominated by absolutist and catholic monarchies-- spain, france, austria-- the republic was an island of relative freedom. the town hall of the dutch city of amsterdam, built in the 17th century, tells us something about the ideals of the dutch republic. it has none of the qualities of absolutist architecture. here no grand colonnade leads the world into a central focus as at saint peter's, rome. no succession of rooms and corridors and staircases takes us to the monarch's bedroom as at louis xiv's palace at versailles. here you have seven simple, unpretentious doorways. the architecture of the new town hall, then, is an embodiment of the netherlands' independent political aspirations, an expression of
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